Scientific name Cervus elaphus barbarus
Higher classification Red deer
|Similar Red deer, Deer, Cervus, Mammal, Cuvier's gazelle|
The Barbary stag (Cervus elaphus barbarus) or Atlas deer is a subspecies of red deer that is native to North Africa.
The Barbary stag is smaller than the typical red deer. Its body is dark brown with some white spots on its flanks and back. The antlers lack the bez (second) tine.
The Atlas deer is the only member of the deer family that is native to Africa. It thrives in dense, humid forested areas of Algeria and Tunisia. It had initially been hunted to extinction in the latter, but specimens from the Tunisian population were reintroduced in the 1990s. One population can be found in Tazekka National Park in the Middle Atlas Mountains.
Recent genetic studies indicate that the North African red deer population is practically indistinguishable from the Sardinian and Corsican populations, generally referred to as the Corsican red deer. This strongly argues for an ancient introduction of red deer from North Africa to these mediterranean islands by humans. Further analysis suggests that the Barbary stag, including Corsican red deer, belongs to a separate species, and should be grouped under the name Cervus corsicanus.
The Barbary stag has or has had predators like the Barbary lion, the Atlas bear, and the Barbary leopard, but they have either become extinct or are endangered.